Project Pre-Mortems

Here’s a technique that can be applied to just about any sales campaign really, even though I’ve tagged this as having particular impact for new product pushes.

This evolution of proactive risk analysis has been around as a tool for a while, as evidenced by these 700 words from the HBR in 2007 by Gary Klein.

I like the Gamestorming summary:

The exercise starts with a simple question:

“What will go wrong?” though it may be elevated in phrasing to

“How will this end in disaster?”

Make sure you click on the Remember The Future link too.

Guy Kawasaki’s Enchantment also picks up on the theme;

This is how premortems work.

The team assembles during the launch phase.

The team leader asks everyone to assume the project failed.

Come up with the reasons why the failure occurred.

More practical pointers abound across the web. Here’s one from a Cara Turner, via S Africa. It has some useful starters for questions during the process.

It’s amazing when the first most reps hear of a saviour new product is when it’s too late. And they’re simply given their sample cases and discount permissions and packed out the door. Here’s another part of the remedy…

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